The Blue Kingfisher
Where the little river gleaming
Thro’ its shadows, green and cool,
Broadens to the quiet dreaming
Of a little shady pool;
There an azure jewel burning
O’er the waters you may spy,
Never moving, never turning:
’Tis the silent fisher, I.
Head aloft above the river,
With an apathetic air,
Not the smallest quirk nor quiver
Warns you of my presence there.
Mayhap you will think me sleeping —
Dreaming summer days away —
Till you mark a keen eye peeping
Where the tell-tale eddies play.
Now a dive, a sudden darting,
Now a flash of gold and blue,
And the placid waters parting
Let my gleaming body thro’.
Then, long ere the ripples, spreading,
Circle to the pool’s green lip
Back to safety I am heading;
And the kill is in my grip.
So I haunt the cool, dark places
By the river, from that hour
When the dawn’s bright finger traces
Fairy lights above my bower,
Till the western hilltops redden,
Fade, and vanish I am there.
And, the far skies, growing leaden,
Bid me seek my secret lair.
C. J. Dennis, The Singing Garden, Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1935, pages 131-132
azure = the blue of a clear unclouded sky
bower = a shaded, leafy resting place or shelter, usually located within a garden or park and often made of latticework upon which plants (especially vines) are grown, or made out of intertwined tree boughs or vines (also known as an “arbor”) (“bower” may also refer to a country cottage or retreat, or to a woman’s bedroom or apartments in a medieval castle or mansion)
ere = before (from the Middle English “er”, itself from the Old English “aer”, meaning early or soon)
o’er = over (pronounced the same as “oar”, “or”, and “ore”)